OCU urges authorities to ensure establishments in Spain comply with offering free tap water

Photo of a glass of water. Image: Creative Commons

Spain’s Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) urges authorities to ensure establishments offer free tap water 

On April 10, the Law on Waste and Contaminated Soils for a Circular Economy was approved in Spain. Article 18.3 establishes the obligation of bars and restaurants to ‘always offer consumers the possibility of free consumption of non-packaged water’. This law is designed to reduce the amount of packaging waste.

The Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) is Spain’s oldest consumer organisation, established in 1975, and has voiced its contentment that this has finally become law.

It had been requesting this consumer right since 2018, with its campaign ‘ Ask for a glass of water’, claiming at the time that it was in accordance with the sustainability recommendations established by the European Commission.

As pointed out by the OCU in a statement, non-compliance with this obligation to offer free tap water in bars and restaurants can result in a fine for these establishments. Customers are within their rights to request the complaints form, which “could lead to an administrative sanction against the establishment”.

With summer approaching, a period when a lot of sporting events or music festivals are held in the open air, the organisation has urged local entities to “actively” monitor compliance with this law.

It points out that this legislation will have a “positive impact on the environment”, due to the subsequent significant reduction in the use of plastic containers. They also highlight the health benefits offered by this new law, claiming that many customers previously, “instead of paying for a bottle of water, they preferred to order a soft drink rich in sugar, or an alcoholic drink”, as reported by 20minutos.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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